More about fire.

The most important thing about starting a fire is your kindling. Many things can be used for that first ember you need to get it started and there is no one thing to use. It all depends on what is happening to you at the time, and what you have available. The first two items that come to my mind are both free and easy to get. Remember the first thing you need is some sort of ember. For that you need something easy to ignite. So, collect a handful of dryer lint. I'm serious. Dryer lint is very fine fibers from your clothing. It is very easy to get started burning, and you don't have to have a flame, just that ember. Once it is glowing, place dry grass on it and gently blow. The lint will ignite the grass. Once that happens, put a little more dry grass on top of it mixed with needle sized twigs. Once the twigs begin to burn you now have coals. Add more of the same and increase the size of the fire. When you have a few coals burning, add less grass and slightly bigger twigs and allow them to catch fire. Now you work your way up in the size of the twigs until you get to the size of a pencil. By now you should have a nice little fire going and you slowly work your way upwards in size until you have a cheery little blaze going. After that, you know what to do.

Another item which is available, especially in the south is what we call 'lighter knot'. When a long needle pine tree dies the sap inside the tree hardens. That sap is used to make turpentine, a very flammable liquid. The part of the pine tree with the harden sap is very hard, water proof and easy to get started burning. Preparing it for use will take a little work. When the tree dies the sap will move towards the center of the trunk before hardening which makes it difficult to get to, but it also will migrate towards the spot where the branches come out of the trunk. That is much easier to get. If the tree has been down long enough, that area can be broken lose just by stomping on it a few times. Once you have the hardened wood that is when you have to sweat a bit. Take the hardened wood and begin to beat it with a hammer. What you what to do is separate the fibers of wood until they become very a fine, thread like material. Use them instead of, or even better, or along with the dry grass. Once that lighter knot gets burning the only way to put it out is with water. Just use the method described above to start your fire. The lighter know is waterproof, so there is no need for a zip-lock type bag, but you don't want to be pulling apart your bug out bag to find them. Put them in just about any kind of container you want, even a cloth bag.

One thing about fires. At night they will let everyone know exactly where you are. So what to do? There are two answers to that question. During the days of the westward expansion of this nation, one problem that the Army had was finding the natives. Partly because the Indians knew the area and the soldiers didn't. But the soldiers couldn't even spot the Indians fires at night. Finally one Indian who had decided to join the white man explained it to them. He said;

"White man make big fire and stand back. Indian make small fire and stand close".

What can I say? Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. A small fire is harder to spot, because of the lack of light, and easier to hide from prying eyes. Another method of staying warm and hidden at the same time is to put the fire in a hole. I mean dig a hole in the ground and put your fire in there. By doing that you have that small fire you have to stand close to and you hide the fire from those who might want to know where you are. And when you dig the hole, don't just throw the dirt away. Stack it up and use it to build a wall around the fire pit. That way you don't have to dig as deep to hide the fire. Also when it is time to leave the area, it is simply a matter of kicking the dirt back into the hole and making that area look like everything else around it to cover your tracks. Now I'm sure there are some out there that say that this is all well and good, but it doesn't keep someone in the air from spotting your fire. That's true. However a simple lean-to built over the fire pit will prevent most aerial observation, and reflect the heat the direction you what it to go. About the only thing left to worry about is sparks flying up in the air. Guess what? Hard woods like oak have very few sparks, burn very hot and last for a longer period of time than softer woods like pine. That means less time gathering wood for your fire. Go ahead. Take a camping trip and try it out.

One more thing about food.

Before I get to far afield, I wanted to mention one more thing about your diet. Man does not live by meat alone. You are going to have to have some vegetables on the plate. One item I carry in my preps is a set of playing cards. Not only do these cards provide a diversion from the cares of day to day life they also list many different type of editable plants, medicinal plants, where they can be found and what they are used for. To save you the trouble of looking for them, here is a link to them on Amazon.


This link shows three different decks of cards. The one I have is listed at about $11. Yes I grew up being a Boy Scout and know all kinds of things about wilderness survival. But I can't teach all of that on-line. That deck of cards is the same size as a regular playing deck, will slip easily into a pouch on your bug out bag and then you don't have to worry about it as long as you have the bag.

Jul 26, 2019

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